Thursday, February 23, 2012

Artyom News

Well, not really about Artyom, but about about Torry Hansen and the Hansen family, those fine folks who sent 7-year-old Artyom back to Russia with a note saying they did not wish to parent him any longer --

First, the Shelbyville (TN) Times Gazette has an exclusive interview with Nancy Hansen, Artyom's grandmother, who escorted him to that international flight to send him -- alone -- to Russia to be picked up by a stranger and transported to the Children's Ministry. Mostly she complains about the lawsuit for child support against Torry:
The family of a woman who sent her adopted son back to Russia in 2010 is speaking out, claiming they never wanted the press barred from court proceedings -- and blasting the attorney they fired earlier this month.

* * *

In an exclusive interview, Hansen told the T-G that Torry has written a letter dated Feb. 12 to Circuit Court Judge Lee Russell, asking for a court-appointed attorney and requesting a transcript of the Feb. 1 hearing. The Hansens claim they have not yet heard a reply from Russell.

Last week, the Hansens' latest attorney, Sandra L.M. Smith of Murfreesboro, filed a motion to withdraw as counsel, saying that she had been unable to communicate with her clients, but Hansen claims that isn't true.

* * *

Hansen claims that after the Feb. 1 hearing, Smith failed to contact her clients to tell them the outcome, saying they had attempted to contact her in the three days that followed, but that Smith did not respond by e-mail or phone. Nancy claims that Smith left a message on Feb. 4, saying she wanted to go over documents, and for the next four days, the Hansens say they tried to get in touch with Smith, but to no avail.

The letter from Torry said "they still don't know what transpired" during the Feb. 1 hearing in Lynchburg, asking to have the transcripts e-mailed to them. Nancy claims that Smith "only tried to cover herself after Feb. 8," also claiming to have recordings of their phone conversations.

Hansen added that Smith could have reached her family if she had wanted to.

Nancy also told the T-G that she was going to travel to Washington state, where WACAP is located, and file a slander suit against the adoption agency. She said that she was going to file it in this state, but now says that "I would not hire another Tennessee lawyer for nothing." She stated she also intended to file a suit against the National Council for Adoption.
Hmm, I'm not sure she'll find a lawyer in Washington state to take the case, having fired 3 previous attorneys and complaining to high heaven about this one. Sounds like the kind of high-maintenance client a lawyer who doesn't want to deal with a grievance filed against him/her with the state bar association will avoid like the plague.

Second, the Washington Post reports on Torry Hansen's failure to attend depositions, leading to a contempt of court hearing:
An American woman who sent her 7-year-old adopted Russian son back to Moscow has been ordered by a Tennessee judge to appear in court to face a possible motion for contempt.

Attorney Larry Crain represents the adoption agency and the boy, Artem Saveliev. Crain said mother Torry Hansen, formerly of Shelbyville, Tenn., has not appeared at three noticed depositions, the last one scheduled for Monday.

On Thursday, Bedford County Circuit Court Judge Lee Russell ordered Hansen to appear in court on March 7 when the judge will consider whether to hold Hansen in contempt of court. He also will consider a motion for a default judgment against her.
I wish I could say all of these shenanigans were unusual in legal proceedings, but they are not. In fact, it all seems rather typical of a family law case, where someone is always unhappy with the lawyer, hiring and firing multiple lawyers, etc. And it's a toss-up on the client-won't-contact-me/lawyer-won't-contact-me she said/she said allegations here -- lawyers hardly ever contact clients as often as the client would like, and clients are always ducking their lawyers when they've done things like failed to show up for a scheduled deposition.  My bet -- Torry will be a no-show for the hearing on contempt, too.  I'll let you know. . . .

But my favorite quote from the Washington Post article:
Nancy Hansen recently told The Associated Press she doesn’t believe Artem was traumatized by being sent home alone.

“All I can say he was very happy when he was on the plane,” she said. “Witnesses have said that he was running all around and he was happy. There were stewardesses watching over him.”
Wow, what a loving, sensitive grandmother! And if I were the lawyer, I'd be slapping a gag on that woman!  According to the Times-Gazette piece, at least part of the unhappiness the Hansens express with their latest lawyer is that she filed motions to exclude the media from the court hearing when the Hansens didn't want the media excluded.  Hmmm, sounds like the lawyer was doing something in the best interest of her clients -- keeping the media from hearing them speak as much as possible!


Sharon said...

These people never should have passed a homestudy.

Anonymous said...


Mahmee said...

My state (and most other states) requires a mandatory (8 weeks +)class on parenting children in the foster care system...when becoming a foster parent and/or adopting children from foster care. We're going through it right now for our 2nd adoption. It covers the issues foster children are dealing with as well as how best to parent children with those issues. If there was something similar for adopting internationally, it would weed out these type of people before they ever made it to the homestudy. They would have realized the type of issues they'd be facing.
Pre-adoption education is vital.

Steve said...

I have no doubt that the Hansens will find a lawyer in Washington state. As long as there's some cash on the table, someone will take it.